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UCI asked to investigate crash at Giro d'Italia

VILLAFRANCA TIRRENA, Sicily (AP) — The International Cycling Union was asked Wednesday to open an investigation into a crash at the Giro d’Italia after it was said to be caused by a helicopter flying too low near the riders.

Vini Zabu teammates Luca Wackermann and Etienne van Empel crashed on the finishing straight of the fourth stage on Tuesday when wind, initially believed to be coming from the sea, blew a barrier across the road.

Vini Zabu said “the barriers flew across the road because of a helicopter flying too low near the riders.” The team said Wackermann had a concussion, broken nose and other injuries. Van Empel reported only cuts to his hands.

The CPA, the international representative body for professional cyclists, asked the UCI to investigate. “We have talked directly with Luca Wackermann and will be at his side to get justice after what happened yesterday at the Giro," the CPA said in a statement. "CPA has request(ed) an investigation on what happened to the UCI. This kind of accidents are intolerable.”

The helicopter belonged to RAI television, the Italian broadcaster of the race. Italian media reported that RAI denied its helicopter was to blame but race organizer RCS Sport said the broadcaster was at fault.

“The official response from the organizers is that the barriers were well secured and there weren’t such strong wind conditions as to be able to move them,” RCS Sport said in a statement to The Associated Press. “The only external element that could have done that is the television helicopter.”

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